Then Jack happened


Dear Jack,
I hang out with this nice couple pretty frequently. They have this French Bulldog, let’s call him Bully. Bully is a sweet guy except you can’t really mess with him or else he might bite. I have taken care of Bully in the past while they are out of town and I really get along with the dog. So the other night we had gone out for the day, having drinks, and we ended up back at their place. I was playing a little with Bully and he nipped my nose. He didn’t growl or anything and I don’t think he meant to hurt me, but I started to bleed everywhere. The couple was really apologetic and got me to the hospital down the street and stayed while I got stitches. They got me medicine and ointments and have been checking in on me and my nose is getting a lot better thankfully. The problem is: I got the hospital bill and it’s a couple hundred dollars. They’ve been nice but haven’t mentioned paying the bill, and I need to get it paid soon. I really don’t have a couple hundred bucks to throw around for this. I don’t want to mess with our friendship. What do you think is the best course of action?
I used to be Handsome
I understand that it can feel awkward asking for money, but they owe it to you. I say that assuming that you are entitled to the medical fees. Your statement: ‘you can’t really mess with him or else he might bite’ is interesting. This indicates that you, and your friends, were aware that Bully might bite. They needed to take the proper precautions with the little guy for others’ safety. By the same token, if you knew that Bully might bite, you definitely shouldn’t instigate him. You know best what happened, but it doesn’t sound like you crossed the line and if not it’s your friends’ responsibility.
If that’s the case then you need to talk about the bill. And by talk with them I mean request payment. Don’t over-think they’re not mentioning your hospital fees. You don’t know why they haven’t, maybe they are dodging you or maybe they forgot, but you need to ask to find out. The bill means more to you than it does to them so a reminder isn’t out of line. I don’t agree that your friendship is at risk so long as they properly handle the situation. Expect them to make this right. If they act huffy and puffy after you mention the bill, it tells you about their quality and what your next step should be both in your friendship and how else to pursue the money.
On the flip side, not asking for the money creates problems as well. First, financially because if you can’t afford the medical bills this screws with your credit, your rent, your food, your whiskey money, your everything. This leads to the second problem, if you don’t ask for the money it is understandable that you, now homeless and swindling tourists for shower money that you’re actually buying malt liquor with, will grow resentful of them by not doing the right thing thus putting you in a bad predicament. That resentment won’t end well.
So be honest and cool and talk to them about it. Don’t assume a negative response. Don’t assume anything. They’ve been pleasant so far, and if they are the good chums you are describing they should look out for you. Just accept that you don’t have to be self-conscious about what is yours lest you end up both hideous and living under a bridge.
A free, dangerous French bulldog or your answer in print goes to the best question of the month, enter the contest with your trials and tribulations at I’ll leave the prize choice up to my editors.